Planning on spending 4 days in Siem Reap, but not sure what exactly to do? Come check out my 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary for everything you need to know about staying in my favorite city in Cambodia. So, let’s chat about the top things to do, where to stay, accommodation, and more!
Welcome to Siem Reap! This extraordinary place is one of the main gateways into Cambodia receiving hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. The majority of people come here to check out the impressive Angkor Wat, though there are actually so many other things to do here! Come find out the history of the country, of course, check out those impressive temples, and eat some delicious food.
I love Siem Reap, it’s actually one of my favorite cities in the world. The reason for this is that it is an equally quaint and bustling city. There aren’t huge concrete skyscrapers and instead, it has embraced the Angkor charm. From night markets, delicious foodie spots, and of course the ever-incredible Angkor Archeological Park there is something to do here for everyone.
Of course, my 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary focuses on the above, as well as exploring some of the other history in this country and the culture. Cambodia has had a super difficult past, and I truly think you need to learn about it in order to understand the country and its people. So now let’s get into how you should spend your 4 days in Siem Reap what to do, the best restaurants to visit, where to stay and my top tips to stay safe and have a great time.
A Siem Reap Itinerary For First-Time Visitors: 4 Days In Siem Reap
- How Many Days To Spend In Siem Reap
- Day One Of Your Four Days In Siem Reap
- Day Two Of The Four Days In Siem Reap Itinerary
- Day Three Of Four Days In Siem Reap
- Day Four Of Four Days In Siem Reap
- Siem Reap Travel Tips
How Many Days To Spend In Siem Reap
I have actually spent quite a few weeks in Siem Reap throughout my travels around Southeast Asia. Though, that is because I simply love it here, and also I did get quite sick resulting in me having to bunker up for an extra few days. Nevertheless, unless you are a digital nomad, I understand that you likely don’t want nor need to spend so much time in Siem Reap.
That is exactly why I have recommended you stay 4 days in Siem Reap, throughout your travels in Cambodia. This will allow you to explore the best of Angkor Archeological Park with those early morning start, spend some afternoons relaxing and recovering, as well as discover some of Cambodia’s history, food scene, and incredible shopping opportunities.
Day One Of Your Four Days In Siem Reap
On the first day of the 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary, we will start off slow by discovering some of the history of the country, and the famous Angkor Archeological Park. Before spending the evening discovering one of the famous sunset temples, no doubt the best way to finish a day in Siem Reap!
Morning- Angkor National Museum
Welcome to Siem Reap. To start the day off strong I will take you to my absolute favorite cafe in the city, Sister Srey Cafe. They are a social enterprise, supporting their team and the local community. The food here is amazingly delicious and surprisingly affordable. They also have plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for those people with dietary requirements.
Before we get into exploring the temples here in Siem Reap, it is time to learn about the history of the Khmer Kingdom. This will give you a lot greater understanding of what you see in front of you, and a greater appreciation for it all. The Angkor National Museum focuses on the collection, preservation, and education of Angkorian artifacts.
Inside the museum is wonderfully air-conditioned so you can spend as long as you like here without struggling in the Cambodian heat. You can also hire an audio guide if you would like to learn a bit more for $5.00.
It is located 1.5 kilometers from the center of town, so up to you whether you would like to walk or pay a couple of dollars for a tuk-tuk.
Afternoon- Cambodia Landmine Museum & APOPO Center
Time for lunch! I recommend heading to The Christa Restaurant for some delicious local dishes. They also have a decent vegetarian menu where you can try local dishes but without the meat. Tofu amok anybody? As a vegetarian myself, it can sometimes suck not being able to try some of the local dishes because they contain meat. Though finding awesome restaurants like this makes life a lot easier.
The second stop of the day is the Cambodia Landmine Museum and APOPO Center. Though, first up is the Cambodia Landmine Museum. You may find it surprising to learn that Cambodia has nearly the most landmines in the world. This is from decades of civil war, the Khmer Rouge, and US bombings. Here you will learn about how this has affected the country and its people. There are a lot of unexploded ordinances in rural Siem Reap and further afield around Cambodia.
Next, we will head to the APOPO Center to check out HeroRATs. This is certainly one of the unique experiences on this itinerary, so prepare to be amazed by the incredible skills these rats have. You would have already learned about the unexploded ordinances in Cambodia, and the effort that goes into finding and disarming them. Though, here you will learn about a creative solution to this, the incredible HeroRATs that have been trained to detect TNT under the soil.
Evening – Sunset At Angkor Archeological Park
One of the best things you can do in the evening while in Siem Reap is go for sunset at Angkor Archeological Park. It is super easy to take a tuk-tuk there and all the drivers know about this not so secret, secret. You can either find a tuk-tuk driver once you arrive in the city or alternatively do a bit of research and find one online in advance. I have done both these methods and had zero issues.
So you are able to purchase your tickets to Angkor Archeological Park from their main offices for the following day, or days, then head straight into the park to experience the sunset. Your tuk-tuk driver will pick you up from your accommodation with more than enough time to purchase your ticket, do a little bit of exploring, and catch an epic sunset.
One of the most popular temples to experience the sunset from is called Phnom Bakheng. This is also the temple we visited for sunset, it was busy, but not overwhelming. Just know you won’t have it all to yourself. The temple is tall enough for the perfect view over the jungle where you can watch the sunset over the horizon and the sky change to beautiful hues of pink and orange.
Day Two Of The Four Days In Siem Reap Itinerary
It’s our second day on the Siem Reap itinerary, and no doubt this is the day you have been waiting for, to experience the famous Angkor Wat. Though that’s only one of the incredible temples you will experience today. After that, it is time to relax as it is a very early start for sunrise.
Morning- Sunrise At Angkor Wat & The Small Circuit Of Angkor Archeological Park
Today will be an early start with your tuk-tuk driver picking you up directly from your accommodation. Today you will be doing the small circuit of Angkor Archeological Park. Essentially there are two different loops you can do, and we will do both in this Siem Reap itinerary. Though today we will focus on the small circuit that’ll take you around the most popular temples in Siem Reap, so be prepared for a lot of tourists.
Angkor Wat: This is no doubt the most famous part of the Angkor Archeological Park that put Siem Reap on the map and that flag. You will come here for sunrise and join the crowds as you watch it rise over one of the ponds out front (it’s a pretty epic reflection). You will see plenty of monks here offering blessings for a donation, which is a pretty popular thing to do here. After sunrise head inside and marvel at the grandeur of it all. You can also climb the extremely steep steps to the temple in the center. There is usually a line, but you do get quite an epic view up the top. Once you have finished exploring I recommend heading to one of the nearby cafes for a quick breakfast to fuel you for more exploring.
Phnom Bakheng: This is the same temple you visited last night for sunset. As you will be seeing a lot of temples today, most people choose to skip visiting Phnom Bakheng for a second time during the daytime.
Bayon: This is another one of those famous temples in Angkor Archaeological Park. It is located at the center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. One of the things that set this temple apart from the rest is all the faces built into the facade looking outward of the building. It truly is impressive thinking about how these were carved out and built. There are actually 216 faces here, though who’s face it is has been of controversy between historians, either the former king, Jayavarman VII, or the face of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokitesvara.
Baphuon: This is a huge temple with a staircase leading to an awesome view. Though because the architecture isn’t as outstanding as some of the other nearby temples some people choose to skip this one. Because of that reason, if you do decide to visit this one it is likely you will nearly have it to yourself.
Terrace Of Elephants: This is a 300-meter terrace where the king would watch events along with the people of Angkor. The elephants are impressively carved out of the terrace, giving it its name. You can find it close by to Baphuon.
Thommanon & Chau Say Tevoda: These temples are located just after the east gate of Angkor Thom. The drawcard here is the perfectly preserved Aspara carvings. Though this is another spot that some tourists choose to skip. At this point in the day, you are no doubt feeling a bit of exhaustion from the early wake-up and heat.
Ta Keo: Here you can climb the extremely steep stairs to reach the top for an awesome view. Inside the small temple of can also find a shrine to Buddha.
Ta Prohm: This is the last of the super impressive temples of will visit on the small circuit today. It is also located on a huge ground, so prepare to spend quite a bit of time here exploring and being in awe of how nature has taken over. Because of the popularity of this temple, you will need to follow a set walkway while exploring. The big drawcard here is it is the filming location of the Tomb Raider movie. Expect to find a lot of large tour groups here as well. Though in my experience everyone was pretty well behaved and took turns taking photos.
Banteay Kdei: This is one of the last temples you will visit, though it is still pretty amazing. Here you can find incredible carvings and parts giving away to time, crumbling away. There is also a large tree at the back growing on one of the walls.
Srah Srang: You’ll find Srah Srang just across from Banteay Kdei. Here is a huge man-made lake where you can check out a beautiful reflection of the sky and relax.
Afternoon- Relax Around The Pool
Now no doubt you are tired after all that exploring, so the rest of today is going to be pretty chill. I recommend grabbing a delicious lunch at New Leaf Eatery. This is another social enterprise where they put their profits towards supporting educational projects in the community. They have a heap of vegan options and use ethically sourced ingredients.
Now with a belly full, I recommend lazing around a pool. Now your hotel may have a pool, in that case perfect! Though if you are like me and book local guesthouses it is unlikely your accommodation has a pool. Nevertheless, there is no need to worry as there are plenty of swimming pools available to use in Siem Reap for a fee that can be put towards food and drinks. If you do decide to do this option then best to skip the above lunch and just eat at the pool.
You will probably be surprised to see how many swimming pools are available to use in Siem Reap, though for ease I recommend booking one nearby your accommodation. Siemreap.Net has an extensive list of pools and Can Travel Will Travel has a list of the best ones for travelers.
Evening- Pub Street
To finish off our second day on the 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary it is time to hit up Pub Street. Now depending on what type of traveler you are will certainly determine how your night is going to go. Nevertheless, I recommend hitting up some of the local street food stalls before tucking into any $1.00 or 50-cent beers.
The later the night gets the more chaotic the streets start to become. This is undoubtedly a party spot, with bars playing loud music and offering many different types of drinking games. Try out some deep-fried bugs from one of the street food sellers, and dance the night away.
Day Three Of 4 Days In Siem Reap
Time for day three of our Siem Reap itinerary. Since the Angkor Archeological Park ticket is valid for 3 days to can always switch day 3 and day 4 of the itinerary around if you are feeling like you need a break from all of the temples.
Morning- Small Circuit Of Angkor Archeological Park
Up to you whether you would like to experience the sunrise, or have a little bit of a sleep-in. Personally, I choose the latter so we grabbed a good breakfast to fuel us for the day before setting off for some temple exploring. If you are keen to get some food beforehand as well I recommend choosing somewhere close to your accommodation so you can still set off relatively early.
The small circuit of Angkor Archeological Park is what we will be exploring today. This is more of the lowkey temples so it will be quite a different experience from yesterday. You won’t be running into those huge crowds, and even if these temples aren’t as popular, when you nearly have them to yourself it makes the experience a whole lot more magical.
Preah Khan: This is certainly one of the more stand-out temples in the grand circuit. At the entrance, you will find statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk leading down the central hallway. In here you will find little spots to explore and be amazed by the well-preserved carvings.
Neak Pean: Along a large walkway you will eventually come across Neak Pean. Here you can find a large lake and quite a few swampy areas. This is a good spot to grab a refreshment or fresh fruit.
Ta Som: At Ta Som, you can find some of the most vibrantly colored carvings in all of the Angkor Archeological Park. This is what sets this temple apart from the rest. This was one of my favorite temples as you can see mother nature taking over, though without all the crowds of Ta Prohm.
East Mebon: The temple is similar to Pre Rup, though with fewer stairs resulting in no view. As you enter through a small doorway the courtyard will open up to an incredible view of the temple.
Pre Rup: Make sure you have plenty of water as you will need to climb up some pretty steep stairs to reach the top. There are no handrails, so if you have a fear of heights or vertigo, this may not be the temple for you. Nevertheless, the view from the top makes it all worth it as you can check out the ruins below you.
Afternoon- Massage Time
After you have spent the morning exploring it is time for lunch. An excellent option is Tevy’s Place. This is a delicious and affordable locally run spot. The owner trains her all-female team to cook and serve some delicious Khmer and Western food. They also have vegetarian and vegan options.
Now after two days of exploring the best temples in Cambodia, you deserve a bit of a relax. That is why it is time for a massage. Siem Reap has an assortment of excellent spas. Whether you are looking for a comfortable and modern 5-star service or something that will be easy on the wallet. There is something here for everyone.
A full body massage will generally set you back about $20.00+ whereas a 30-minute foot massage generally costs only a couple of dollars. Be aware the closer you are to the touristy area, the more the prices will be. Though this is Southeast Asia where you can get some of the cheapest massages in the world, so an affordable choice is never too far away.
Evening- Night Market
Even if you are not a shopper, spending an evening at one of the night markets here in Siem Reap is an excellent chance to see some beautiful local artworks, and clothing, and also try delicious food. In Siem Reap, there are quite a few night markets on offer, though one of the best ones is called Angkor Night Market. Here you can find souvenirs and handicrafts made by the local Khmer community.
I recommend finding a spot nearby to the night market for a delicious dinner. Next to the old market, you can find Chan Kim Lun Restaurant which I quite enjoyed when dining with a large group in Siem Reap. The menu is literally as thick as a bible with plenty of photos, so they can literally cater to every taste. It is an affordable option where you can easily order a few different options without breaking the bank.
Day Four Of Four Days In Siem Reap
Now at this stage, you may be feeling a little templed out. No worries, I completely understand. Today we will be exploring another area of Siem Reap known as Tonle Sap Lake, partake in a cooking class so you can replicate some of the delicious local foods you have tried back at home, and finish the 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary off by visiting the famous Phare Cambodia Circus.
Morning- Tonle Sap Lake Tour
Now it is an early start today so it is best to grab something to nibble on the night before while you journey to Tonle Sap Lake through rural villages. There are plenty of tours you can choose from to book with. Though this one on Klook is highly recommended and a super affordable option for travelers on a budget.
On the tour, you will be taken to the floating village called Mechrey checking out the floating market and floating houses. You will have the experience to witness how these people live in Siem Reap and at one with the lake. The money from the tour directly goes towards the community in Mechrey.
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Daytime- Cooking Class
Typically you will be back around 1pm from your Tonle Sap Lake Tour, and before you start thinking about lunch. It is time to do a cooking class where you will be able to eat to your heart’s content.
Held in a beautiful garden setting this Khmer Cooking Class will have your mouth drooling and your stomach rumbling. From appetizers, salads, curries, and desserts, you will not be leaving hungry. You will also be given a recipe booklet so you can make the dishes you learned back at home.
Evening- Phare Cambodian Circus
Lastly, it is time to finish off the 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary with the famous Phare Cambodian Circus. This is a Cirque du Soliel-like production by local performers. The circus is actually a social enterprise designed to encourage performance art in the country and provide opportunities to the youth from low socioeconomic areas.
There are two different show timings per night so you can decide what best fits your schedule, and there are three different seating areas, with the best costing around $38.00. The show lasts around 1 hour and showcases Khmer theater, dance, music, juggling, and contortionism.
Siem Reap Travel Tips
Now you have your 4 days in Siem Reap itinerary it is time to give you my top travel tips. These will help you have a fantastic time in the city and know what to expect when you are there.
Safety While In Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a relatively safe place. Of course, there is the exception of the many scams you will find in Asian countries. Sure there won’t be people waiting to steal your bag or gang ready to snatch you away. But Siem Reap is actually one of the poorest areas in Cambodia so you still need to be cautious.
The main thing I will say is to be careful of snatch thieves. Basically, this is someone who will drive past you on a motorbike and snatch your phone/wallet/handbag away. Since they are on a motorbike and you are on foot there is no way you can catch them. Whether you are looking at your phone for directions, opening up your wallet to pay for a cold drink, or simply walking down the road with your bag over your shoulder, be extra careful and pay attention to your surroundings.
Don’t drink the water out of the tap. It is easy to find bottled water here through the local corner store or hostels will do free refills.
Where To Stay In Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a popular destination for travelers of all types so you will find accommodation for all budgets. Whether you are looking for a taste of 5-star luxe, an affordable guesthouse, or a hostel where you can meet other travelers, there is something here for everyone.
Though in my eyes, there are two things you need to be aware of when booking accommodation in Siem Reap. The first is I highly HIGHLY recommend booking a room with air conditioning. My partner and I traveled Southeast Asia for the first time without staying in air-conditioned rooms. Now there are only a few places we struggled, but one of them was Siem Reap. The daytime heat is just next level.
Secondly is that there are a heap of power cuts in Siem Reap like A LOT. Therefore depending where you book, if the power goes out, there goes your air conditioning. Now I don’t mean to sound like a princess, but I have had the power go out here for 24 hours. Nicer hotels will have generators that will boost into action in a power cut, though guesthouses and more affordable choices will not.
My personal favorite place to stay in Siem Reap is called the Royal Crown Hotel & Spa. They have two different pools you can use, a quick 5-minute walk from the Old Market, beautiful rooms, and delicious food options on-site. I actually got quite sick in Siem Reap and we ended up bunkering up here in this hotel for a week.
We have also stayed in a couple of guesthouses and more affordable hotels in Siem Reap. Seriously you can find decent hotels here with a pool and air conditioning for as little as $20.00 per night. If you have someone else to share the room with this works out to $10.00 per person, for a place you would pay $100.00+ a night for out of Southeast Asia.
A fun and social hostel with a rooftop pool. Prices start from $5.00 per night for a dorm room.BOOK NOW
A chill hostel with a co-working space as well. Prices start from $7.00 per night.BOOK NOW
My top choice. Rooms start from $45.00 per night with two pools and breakfast included.BOOK NOW
A Luxe Hotel with modern rooms and a pool. Prices start from $70.00 per night.BOOK NOW
Where To After Your Siem Reap Itinerary
When you have finished up your adventures in Siem Reap it is super easy to continue your adventures here. Or perhaps even pass into one of the neighboring countries. You can find an international airport here in Siem Reap with plenty of connections to other Southeast Asian countries.
International: If you are wanting to get to other neighboring countries from Siem Reap it is super easy to travel to Bangkok. There are plenty of bus connections available. Another option is Pakse in Laos, though bus connections are a lot less common as it is a less frequented route. This one may take a bit more planning.
Domestic: Unless you are planning on flying it isn’t super easy to get to the islands in Cambodia from Siem Reap. Instead, Battambang is an up-and-coming city on the tourist trail thanks to the bamboo train. Alternatively, you can travel to Phnom Penh and then to other parts of Cambodia from there.
Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!
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Photo credit: “Phare Circus” (CC BY 2.0) by Austin Adventures. “APOPO Visitor Center” (CC BY 2.0) by Hotel Kaesong .
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